Cold sores or fever blisters form in groups on or around the lips and the mouth. The skin often becomes red, swollen, and sore around the affected area. The blisters can often break or burst to shed a clear fluid, and then tend to scale over in a few days. Healing is automatic and may take up to two weeks. The cause for the sores is the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which itself is of two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Each of these types of herpes virus can cause cold sore around the mouth. This state is called herpes labialis. They can also cause sores around the genitals which is called herpes genitalis.

Herpes virus will usually enter the body through a cut in the skin around the mouth or inside. It can then spread by touching a cold sore or its infected fluid. This can happen through sharing utensils and razors, kissing, touching the saliva of an infected person. Once in the body the virus cannot be killed, and is there to stay. Infected parents will normally pass the virus to their children, although some people do not develop the sores despite having the virus.

Initial symptoms of cold sores can be pain on your lips or around the mouth, sore throat, swelling of glands in the neck and elsewhere, or even fever.  Little babies may drool before the sores appear. Blisters appear, and then burst to discharge a clear fluid which also infectious. Crust is formed over the burst sores and healing is completed in about two weeks. Some patients will feel varying levels pain due to the sore.

There is no treatment for cold sores and they don’t require any. They heal automatically in about two weeks. Any medications will reduce this period by about two days only. However, painkillers can used to reduce the pain and discomfort, if required.